Recently I got a thought-provoking email from a buddy who asks about joining Groups, and what the negative affects might be. Specifically, he is referring to a religious Group. Interestingly, I had recently come across a few Groups for my religion and thought about joining them, but didn’t. Here’s his question:
Will this make my profile look too “ethnic”…. and specifically religious? Do you think that could be a turnoff to non-[insert-religion-here] or non-religious prospects?
Obviously, I don’t hide my [insert-religion-here], but, except for when I pitch [insert-religion-here] companies and organizations, I am not selling that aspect in my job hunting.
Are you proud enough to join the Group? Is this a matter of your own pride?
I opted to not join the Groups I found because I didn’t want anyone to be biased against me for joining those Groups. Of course, I would have liked them to be biased towards me, but I weighed the pros and cons and decided to not join.
How about ethnic Groups? I just did a search for “hispanic” and found a bunch of Groups, some with over 1,000 members. I think these could be good to join… but I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do. As the owner of JibberJobber, or an author, or a job seeker, everything we have on our Profile will contribute to our brand. Of course I don’t want to work for or with someone who is prejudice, but as far as putting food on my table, I want to do what I can (ethically), and what I can feel good about, without putting myself in a situation where a decision-maker will unfairly judge me.
What about political Groups? There are over 14,000 LinkedIn users who are in Obama’s Group, and over 3,000 LinkedIn users who are in McCain’s Group. Is LinkedIn a good place to share this affinity, and could it have a negative impact on future business and career happenings?
The pros to joining the Groups, on the other hand, include access to those members, who might be part of my target audience. And, of course they might find me, if they are searching on Group members.
Is that enough of a reason to do it? I’m not saying hide, or be ashamed of, your natural affinities. But in this crazy world of prejudice, and issues that HR deals with (if you send them a resume with a picture on it, I hear they just toss it in the garbage can and you are NOT considered anymore), it seems like it might be smart to not join.
I’d love to hear what you think.